Juvenile Defense Lawyer in Colorado Springs
When a child or teen under the age of majority has been arrested, it can be extremely stressful and traumatic—not only for the child but for the entire family as well. Simply facing the reality of the situation and the possible consequences can be difficult even for the most responsible, loving parents.
It’s true that juvenile crime is prosecuted differently when compared to adult crimes, and the penalties are also quite different. However, that doesn’t mean that these penalties can’t have life-changing consequences. It’s important to contact a criminal attorney to help your child and your family navigate this difficult situation to eliminate or minimize negative consequences.
When Your Child is Arrested in Colorado Springs
If a minor is taken into custody due to being under suspicion of breaking the law, it’s required that the state immediately notify the parents of the child. If the crime was not violent, the child is typically released into the custody of the parents. However, if the crime was related to weapons or violence, the child may be held in a facility specifically designated for juveniles. If they are being held in a state-sponsored facility, the court is required to schedule a hearing within 48 hours to determine whether or not the child’s detention is appropriate.
While this is going on, the District Attorney will review the circumstances surrounding the young person who was taken into custody. Depending on the results of this review, they may file a petition with the juvenile court. In some situations; they may even determine that the child could be tried as an adult.
In many cases, the situation can be entirely resolved between the District Attorney and the child’s parents or between the District Attorney and a juvenile attorney representing the family. This is especially true if the DA concludes that the events leading up to taking the minor into custody represent a temporary lapse of judgment as opposed to a pattern of illegal or disruptive behavior.
Juveniles Charged with a Felony in Colorado
While you might suppose that all situations involving minor children are treated with similar leniency, this is not the case. Judges and prosecutors do have some discretion, but the fact of the matter is that being under 18 is simply not a get out of jail free card for minors in Colorado, especially if violent crimes are involved.
A felony in Colorado is any crime that is punishable by one year or longer in state prison. There are six different classes of felonies, with Class 6 being the least severe and Class 1 the most severe. Crimes like sexual assault, assault, manslaughter, theft of high value, and murder are all typically at the upper end of the spectrum and can have lifelong consequences. For crimes of this nature, being a minor does not affect much of the outcome.
When involving a juvenile, these cases are handled by a separate court system. The purpose of this unique justice system is to provide juveniles with a court system that may emphasize reform over incarceration due to the young age of these defendants. The philosophy is that younger defendants are more likely to learn from their mistakes when compared to older criminals who have already formed a lifelong pattern of misbehavior.
Colorado Juvenile Court System
These courts usually handle cases involving defendants between the ages of 10 and 17 years old who have been charged with a crime. While most cases handled by juvenile courts involve misdemeanors or charges specific to minors, like truancy and runaways, about one percent of the total involve felonies.
Many people are unfamiliar with the juvenile court system and its role in the justice system, especially as it applies to felonies. Each case and its surrounding circumstances are closely analyzed to determine how the accused defendant will be treated. Typically, these crimes are approached from a perspective of preventing repeat criminal behavior. Diversion programs, school system participation, and social workers often play a role in juvenile penalties.
However, despite these positive attributes of the juvenile justice system, things can go wrong very quickly. This is why it’s so vital to have a Colorado Springs juvenile attorney to help minors navigate the many issues that may come up in a case. Each case is evaluated on its own merits, but prosecutors may emphasize certain negative elements of the case to incur stricter penalties. It’s not wise to try and go it alone because of how much impact these penalties can have on your child throughout the rest of their adult life.
The term restorative justice refers to a philosophy of justice that aims to understand the motivations for the crime and prevent its reoccurrence instead of making punitive justice the main incentive. The main goal of restorative justice is to help the accused to better themselves. This often happens through improving their circumstances in the process to lead a more fulfilling and productive life.
It’s important to note that while a criminal attorney may be able to save your child from any penalties and should always explore every type of available defense, probation may in some cases be necessary. This shouldn’t be considered a completely negative outcome as probation can often offer certain services like substance abuse counseling or psychological treatment.
Young offenders are in a different class from their elders. They have their whole lives ahead of them. Fighting for restorative justice in these cases helps young people get the second chance they deserve and strengthens our communities.
Juvenile Cases We Handle
We handle all types of juvenile cases. These are some of the most common:
- Criminal Mischief
Criminal mischief covers several types of crimes, all of which involve knowingly damaging the personal or real property of another individual or individuals.
Reform programs, juvenile detention, and probation are all options if a minor is found guilty of a crime. If a minor is assigned incarceration, there are usually options to petition the court for probation instead.
Shoplifting is often thought to be a minor crime, but the truth is that the consequences can be severe, even for juveniles.
- School Suspension
We can help if your child has committed an infraction that has resulted in school expulsion or suspension, which can affect their education and future. An experienced attorney will assist in preventing these awful consequences.
- Tried as an Adult
Certain cases may result in a juvenile being tried as an adult. This can happen if the child is 12 years or older and the felony is a Class 4 or higher. It’s especially possible if the child has a prior criminal record or the crimes are violent.
Vandalism is a common crime amongst juveniles. It is defined as the malicious or willful defacement or destruction of property—public or private.
- Weapon Offense
While the number of minors arrested for weapons charges has declined, these are still amongst the most serious charges a juvenile can face.
Anaya-McKedy, P.C. is a firm dedicated to providing effective and aggressive representation to every one of our clients. Our three decades of experience have given our criminal defense attorneys the knowledge and expertise necessary to defend clients of all ages. Contact us today for a consultation.